Full of worry and guilt, Xing Tanxing stood rooted in the visitor's courtyard entrance. From her spot, she can see Rui's lonely back while he is looking at a far distance. But he is not looking at anything in particular. And Xing Tanxing knows that he is still thinking about his confession and rejection from Lin Xulian. She knows because she unintentionally heard everything when she was about to visit Lin Xulian.
Xing Tanxing felt really guilty because it was her idea for Rui to confess. And now he is in pain after being rejected. She is starting to doubt if her suggestions were right or was she just unnecessarily meddlesome. She cannot help but blame herself for Rui's current state.
"You can enter if you want to. This is your manor anyway." Xing Tanxing almost jumped in shock after hearing Rui's voice. She looked around once to check if there is another person in the courtyard, but she found none. When she looked at Rui's direction, she was startled to realize that he is looking straight at her.
She gave him an awkward smile then slowly approached and sat beside him. "Where did Lian go?" Xing Tanxing wants to slam her head in the nearest pillar after she realized that she asked a very awkward question. She can't be blamed though because every time they coincidentally meet, she would start their conversation by mentioning Lin Xulian. And that already became her habit. 'Stupid! Stupid Tanxing! Really?! You are mentioning the person who rejected him at this moment?!' She mentally scolded herself.
Rui doesn't know if she is aware but he can tell Xing Tanxing's thoughts based on her obvious facial reaction. "I'm fine. If that's what you really want to know." He replied with a genuine smile. But deep inside, he is really sad and the pain is almost unbearable.
Knowing that Rui was able to see through her thoughts, Xing Tanxing became serious. "I'm sorry young master Rui." She said while looking down on her intertwined hands on her lap showing her guilt.
"It wasn't your fault. In fact, I should thank you because you gave me courage to finally confess the feelings I've hidden for eighteen years. If I listened to my coward self, until now I'll still be drowning myself with what ifs and cannot move forward." Rui replied truthfully. He never blamed her and never would. He knows that even without Xing Tanxing, he is still doomed to be rejected sooner or later.
"So, what's your plan now? Are you giving up?" Xing Tanxing asked curiously.
Rui took a deep and heavy breath. "I have no idea. All I know is I will respect Lian'er's feelings and decisions. As for my own feelings, only time can tell."
"I heard Lian is going to leave alone soon. What about you?" Xing Tanxing asked nervously.
"I have no choice but to return home for now."
Hearing his response, Xing Tanxing's thoughts went haywire. "But she will return here after she is cured. Why don't you just stay here wait for her? I'll accompany you." Due to embarrassment after realizing her response, Xing Tanxing's face reddened. She cannot even look him in the eyes while trying to salvage her reputation. "I-I didn't mean anything. I just thought it would be beneficial for me—...I mean us if you stay and help train our guards. But it is still up to you, young master Rui." She explained with a strained and awkward smile.
While Xing Tanxing is flustered, Rui remained oblivious and didn't think too deeply about her suggestion. "That actually sounds good. In reality, I have no specific job in the Jianghu aside from overseeing if they are not doing things that I deemed inhumane. But I already made arrangements for that. That means I have nothing to do so I'll stay. Thank you for having me." Rui accepted her invitation without batting an eye.
Xing Tanxing secretly heaved a sigh of relief. 'Good thing he is as dense as Lian. They are obviously siblings okay!' Seeing that he won't realize that she is thinking with malice, she tried to test him. "Young master Rui, I didn't mean to step beyond my bounds but I heard some of your conversation with Lian earlier. And I think I should suggest it back to you if you really want to move forward. You should really look at someone else. It won't happen immediately but you could at least start."
Xing Tanxing spoke without looking at him because she is too nervous to see his reaction. Also because she is afraid that he could see through her despite being dense. Then she noticed that it's been quite a long time but he still hasn't given her a response. Due to her curiosity as to why he remained silent, she decided to look at him. To her surprise, he is actually looking at her intently.
Her heart skipped a beat then suddenly hammered in her chest because of his piercing stare. She remembered the time when he misunderstood her sexual preferences. 'There he goes again! What is he thinking this time?!' She thought. "W-why are you looking at me like that young master Rui? Did I do or said something wrong again?"
"I'm just trying it out. Looking at someone else." He replied with a serious tone and face.
Xing Tanxing felt like something exploded in her mind and heart. "Y-you…y-you! I-I-I didn't mean it should be me! Are you an airhead?!" She said while standing up abruptly. "I-I think I should leave now, young master Rui. You still need time to clear your mind." Then she left in a hurry as if she was fleeing from something.
Rui tilted his head in confusion from her extreme reaction. Then he smiled in amusement. He really felt thankful of Xing Tanxing because she was able to pull out his hidden courage. 'I need to thank her properly.' He decided.